We are mid rains. That means it can lash cats and dogs and the sky be slung so fatbellied low that you wonder if it will ever, ever lift so that you can see the horizon again, wonder if the rain will ever stop. The lights sputter as the power lines swing dangerously in high winds, skeletal trees drop skinny limbs too weak to hang on, you have to rig a tarpaulin on the verandah to stop your house flooding, shuffle furniture around, shroud the telly in a towel. And the flying ants pop out of the sodden earth and party briefly only to drop deadly hours later so that the lawn is littered with this gossamer wings. If, that is, they are’t snaffled up by the dogs first. I have watched, in the past, in another long ago Africa garden, two dogs, a cat and a pair of geese feasting on these airborne snacks.
But then, between storms, there is the heat. When the sky is pulled taut whiteblue at all its corners so that clouds, the few that hang high, are stretched onionskin thin and you imagine it will never, ever rain again. I pour water onto gasping plants late in the evening, at seven, when it’s still bright enough to see but a lowering sun is too low now to pinch hotly, meanly, with fiery fingers. I swim in a pool the temperature of just leftover soup, I shower in cold water that’s been uncomfortably warmed in the pipes so that it isn’t nearly as refreshing as I hoped it would be. I sleep as a starfish, on my back, beneath a fan. I say, ‘god it’s so hot’. I say that a lot.
We are always either wondering, at this of year, when the rain will end. Or when it will begin.